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Timothy Spall at Sea series is a set of three BBC Four television series that follows the voyage of actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane as they take their Dutch barge, the Princess Matilda, on a circumnavigation around the British Coast, with visits to Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.[1][2][3]

Their £350,000 boat (£200,000 at the time of purchase in May 2010), the Princess Matilda, is a 52-foot-long (16 m) 35-tonne steel-hulled seagoing Category B Dutch barge which was designed and built by Peter Nicholls Yacht Builders Ltd.[4][5]

This TV documentary series is made by the same team who make Escape to the Chateau for Channel 4 that features Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel.



Timothy Spall: Somewhere at SeaEdit

This is the first series, though their trip from London to Cornwall was the first leg of their journey. The series comprised three programmes, covering their journey from Cornwall to the Bristol Channel and their winter mooring at Penarth in Cardiff Bay.[6] It was first broadcast during May 2010.[7]

Timothy Spall: Back at SeaEdit

The second in the series comprised four programmes and covered the journey after the first winters break. They travel around Wales to Liverpool, to the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The last programme in this series follows them from the western Scottish Isles to winter port in Aberdeenshire via the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness.[8] The series was first broadcast in August 2011.[9]

Timothy Spall: All at SeaEdit

The third and final series in the set comprised four programmes, and covers the final leg of their journey. The final programme of the previous series left them needing a winter mooring in Eastern Scotland, and the first programme of this series tells of their winter mooring in Buckie and Banff, Aberdeenshire.[10] This series follows them from Scotland to London, via North East England, the East of England, the River Medway and Chatham, finishing with their return up the River Thames. The series was first broadcast in February and March 2012.[11]

In August 2011, whilst filming an episode in the River Medway estuary, Spall and his wife became lost and had to be guided in by the Sheerness lifeboat.[12]


  1. ^ Wollaston, Sam (10 August 2011). "TV review: Timothy Spall: Back at Sea; Who Do You Think You Are?; Village SOS". The Guardian. London.
  2. ^ Last Night's TV: Wallis Simpson: the Secret Letters/Channel 4
    Timothy Spall: Back at Sea/BBC4 - Reviews, TV & Radio - The Independent
  3. ^ 10 August 2011 00:02 Comments By Jane Simon (10 August 2011). "Timothy Spall: Back At Sea - BBC4, 8.30pm". Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  4. ^ Peter Nicholls [1]
  5. ^ BoatShed [2]
  6. ^ "Race Against the Tide". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Timothy Spall: Somewhere at Sea". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Scotch Mist". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Timothy Spall: Back at Sea". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  10. ^ Timothy Spall (2011). Message in a Bottle. BBC. Event occurs at 03:38. before we came to Banff we were in Buckie
  11. ^ "Timothy Spall: All at Sea". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  12. ^ "BBC News - Actor Timothy Spall rescued by Sheerness lifeboat". 25 August 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2012.

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